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itself swimming in controversy over a proposed plan to import 18 more of them from russia. >> we feel like our role is not only to have animals so that people can be inspired by seeing them, but we also have to have them to learn from them. >> reporter: the whales all captured in the last seven years would be spread out over six aquariums in the u.s. the first such import in almost two decades. >> we want to ensure that that population is robust and can be maintained. and these belugas can be around for future generations to enjoy. >> this is about money. this is about ticket sales. >> reporter: dr. laurie marino, a neuroscientist at emory university, is among the thousands of people who criticize the plan during an online comment period. she also points out that a newborn beluga whale died at the georgia aquarium earlier this year. >> their lives are ruined in captivity. they will be in socially deprived situations. where their autonomy is taken away. >> reporter: the plan has drawn the attention of peta, and actress kim bassinger, who in a letter last month to the governor called th
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